June 08 2019 (Dubai, UAE) – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) 75th Annual General Meeting (AGM) unanimously resolved to support the global deployment of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for baggage tracking. The AGM also called for the implementation of modern baggage messaging standards to more accurately track passengers' baggage in real time across key points in the journey.
In 2018, less than 0.06% of the estimated 4.3 billion bags carried by airlines were mishandled, according to the latest figures from SITA. Since 2007 baggage mishandling has fallen by 70% and today 99.9% of mishandled bags are reunited with their owners within two days.
RFID read rates are 99.98% accurate which is significantly better than that of bar codes. And modern messaging standards will enable airlines to proactively take action when there is potential for mishandling. Combined, RFID and modern messaging standards, should reduce the mishandling rate by 25%.
“Passengers want to arrive with their bags. And on the rare occasion when that does not happen, they want to know exactly where their bag is. Deploying RFID and adopting modern baggage messaging standards will help us to cut mishandlings by a quarter and recover bags that are mishandled more quickly,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.
The resolution commits airlines to:
- Transition to bar-coded bag tags with RFID inlays.
- Use RFID data alerts to enact processes with airports and ground handlers that prevent potential mishandlings.
The resolution does not specify timelines. It is anticipated, however, that global adoption of RFID could be achieved within four years.
Partnerships are critical
Partnerships are critical to success in driving this transformation. The resolution calls for:
- Airports to rapidly incorporate the use of RFID technology for baggage handling into their infrastructure, and to commence implementation of modern baggage messaging standards.
- Ground handlers to make use of RFID technology to replace manual tracking operations wherever feasible.
“Implementing RFID tracking technology and adopting modern messaging standards is a team effort. Airlines, airports and ground handlers need to work together. And the motivation is to satisfy customers,” said de Juniac.
The full resolution is available on iata.org